Satellite Finder + Meter (1 Viewer)

Is it worth to create such a satellite meters + finders, as mentioned above in "4."

  • Yes. Absolutely. I appreciate if much more functions, with lower price. (Sub-$300, sub-$150).

  • Nah. Relax, man. Nobody needs it here. Everybody's happy with existing models ($500-up).

  • Neither of the above, and I am going to write some comment about this


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Dr.HD

Thread Starter
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Jan 13, 2017
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13
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Hi, Guys!
I am engineer, working on satellite meters. I've created some for DVB-S/S2 and DVB-T/T2, and before that, some set-top boxes / receivers that became popular in the DX communities worldwide (for good handling of low-SignalRate SCPC channels, and for spectrum analyzer function).

Now I am into satellite meters, amd I intend to create something interesting for the USA, but for America it seems that more functions are needed (DSS modulation, SWM switch, etc). So I am asking for American Satellite Guys to help me out, because there are some information gaps about satellites in US that I'd like to fill.
Looking for a right Forum - I thought that "FTA" is the place to be, because in DirectTV and Dish forums the users probably are interested only in switching on and off of their box. Probably. ;)

By the way, in 2016 I've met with SATELLITE GUYS official team at the CES show, but in 2017 we've missed each other somehow. Anyway, I hope that Moderators and Site Admins are OK with me asking some technical questions here.

1. First question is about popular Birdog sat-meter+finder. I took a look a one today (I am in USA temoporarily, after CES show), and I couldn't find any use of the "DDSI" function, mentioned in bright yellow letters on the meter's panel. As I understand, the DDSI means "Digital DataStream Identification". Right? So, in my understanding, it must be a function when the Digital Stream from locked satellite Transponder is read, analyzed, and the Satellite-ID packets are read and identified - and then the Orbital Position and Broadcaster Name are displayed (same as good models for DVB-S2 markets do). As least that's what I would expect from satellite meters nowadays. However, I have studied ALL the menus and couldn't find any place to call that function.
What's wrong? I have the Birdog USB plus with the DDSI.

2. As I understand, the typical household is installed with SWM (swim) LNB and/or switch. So, to work with these switches, the satellite meter must be able to provide the SWM-commands for control etc. But is it really needed? As I understand, most of LNBs now have "legacy" output, with which it is similar connection as with Universal LNB. Right? So maybe the SWM control isn't at all needed?

3. The typical voltage output from sat-meter are 13 Volts and 18 Volts for Universal LNB. But for USA, do I need to add support of 21/23 (don't remember exactly) and 28 Volts for the SWM switch? Or they are coming from the Power Injector which is always there. Or worth to add? (Need to change hardware in that case.)

4. Some question which I didn't plan to ask, but it arises as I continue to write. Maybe I am spending my time for nothing and there is simply no need for such satellite-meter in USA, and everybody is happy with the Birdog/etc satellite finders? Is there any need for such devices in the open market? Or, as I was told recently, all the installations are done ONLY by the DirecTV/Dish certified installers (who are forced to buy the 'approved' meters from DirecTV and Dish, respectively).
In my understanding, all the Birdog models, compared what's going on in Europe, etc - look like they all created in 1999 and kind of overpriced with lack of functions, too. Display must be bigger, in color, must be USB-drive support, real satellite-stream identification, real-time Satellite Spectrum, possibility to open and watch at least FTA channels, meter must be much lighter and smaller, faster, etc, etc... I planned to release one model with rich functions (still smaller and cheaper than Birdogs), and another one with size of two card decks, easy-to-carry that is low-cost and displays all the info on the cell phone via Bluetooth. (Second one won't be able to show any of the FTA channels, though.) Worth it, or better spend my time for something else?

Please give me your comments, all info appreciated.
 

Dr.HD

Thread Starter
Member
Jan 13, 2017
6
13
HK
I use an Applied Instruments AI TurboS2. It would be nice to have that kind of functionality for half or less the price for sure.

Thanks for the reply. I've checked that one and I find that it is worthy thing to have. Seems it has the Satellite ID function - but not clear, whether is it database-based, or real stream packets identification (satellite info read from the stream). Do you have any idea?

Also, I've checked their site and I see that only XR-3 model is there - modular concept, so the full set including the DVB-S/S2 would be $710 -up.

But what is important - how do you use this meter? Is it for home/RV installation, for fun ... or for professional use?
What kind of meters do professional DirecTV/Dish installers use? Has anybody got a clue?
 

Magic Static

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The ID function is database. Owners of the meter are notified when updates are released and a simple computer app updates the meter quick and easy. You can also load data pertinent to the area of the globe you are on.
I'm a hobbyist, so mostly FTA , but occasionally friends ask to aim a Dish or DTV unit and that meter is a snap to use.
Most the guys around here use an AIM or a Birdog USB Plus meter for installs
 
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hank123

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As far as I know the Birdog does not do DVB-S2.
Birdog ultra will power a SWM LNB, USB plus works great with KAKU 3 or 5.
29 volts would be for a swm switch. 8,16,30,32 switch. Don't see a need for it.

Birdog is past it due for a major update. For the price and what it does......POS
Meters on the market that do more for the same price or less.

I would love to have a meter that will do DVB-S2, easy setup, programmable
that is not going to rape me on price. Super Buddy but without the insane price point for all the cool things it can do. Shoot lets tune OTA as well. 1 meter to do FTA, Dish, Directv, OTA.
 
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Titanium

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May 23, 2013
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Dr. HD,

Be nice to have a reasonably priced meter with calibrated spectrum analyzer (w/adjustable bandwidth) and constellation displays, support for CCM/ACM/VCM. Direct entry and blind scan with external editor. The ability to display services is not important to myself, but most hobbyists seem to prefer meters with AV playout. Support for DiSEqC 22KHz, 1.0/1.1 (1.2/USALS if battery has capacity). 13/18 polarity switching and bandstacked. All KU/C/KA LNB LO's plus customer user setting. Receiver monitoring for voltage, 22KHz tone (be nice to display tone amplitude).

If you are going after the DSS and DBS markets, the meter will need to support legacy and current switches, LNB types SWM 21/29 as well as unique 8spk Dish turbo. These services have specific requirements that are not used for FSS, but the meters would not have wide acceptance unless approved and recommended by the specific providers.

Lke most others, I quit using Birdog meters many years ago. The Birdog is notorious for false positives and the BER setting not on FSS transponders. Truely a frustrating meter! Currently have the AI DVB S2 Turbo and very satified with it. Would love to upgrade to the new modular model with the V-sat module for VCM, 16/32apsk, but the price tag is steep for my limited field usage.

Give me a call at the office while you are in the US, if you have some time to chat. 530-652-4405 or drop a PM. Will be open Monday.

Hope you had a great CES show!
 
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mr3p

SatelliteGuys Pro
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Jan 1, 2010
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I currently use a First Strike Meters FS1 which has generally worked well but I'd consider an upgrade if newer/better features were added. Suggestions mentioned above like spectrum analyzer, blindscan, Satellite ID function, etc would be nice. Not sure if its possible but it would be great if there was a way to "download" data from lyngsat or sathint directly into meter rather than manually entering. Ability to drive H-H motor?
 
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. Raine

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I use a First Strike FS1 meter too and have been happy with it.

One option of the FS1 that is useful and may be worth considering is that it can be connected in series with the STB and LNB and be powered by the receiver if your battery is low.

I don't know if most meters have this option or not, the FS1 is the only one I own.
 
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Dr.HD

Thread Starter
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Jan 13, 2017
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As far as I know the Birdog does not do DVB-S2.
I would love to have a meter that will do DVB-S2, easy setup, programmable
that is not going to rape me on price. Super Buddy but without the insane price point for all the cool things it can do. Shoot lets tune OTA as well. 1 meter to do FTA, Dish, Directv, OTA.

Thanks. Let me know whether is it important to watch the services on the screen, or through TV attached by HDMI. Price difference is like 100 dollars for this. Would you rather save 100 bucks or be able to watch FTA services?
 

Dr.HD

Thread Starter
Member
Jan 13, 2017
6
13
HK
Dear mr3p and .Raine!
These functions are already done, for DVB-S2 ! Now currently adding what is needed in US: DSS, SWM, etc. Yes, it is possible to drive USALS or DiSEqC 1.2 motor right from meter's power output, current up to 0.7A, but operation time would be limited of course, as device's weight is little more than 1 lb. On a brighter side, it IS possible to charge and power up by coax cable, from any set-top box supplying 13 or 18 volts. To tell you honestly, I didn't know that First Strike can do that too (never seen it), was thinking that it is my invention. :shh
 

hank123

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Thanks. Let me know whether is it important to watch the services on the screen, or through TV attached by HDMI. Price difference is like 100 dollars for this. Would you rather save 100 bucks or be able to watch FTA services?

No HDMI. I would like to have a meter that can do it all at a fair price. Super buddy can but be ready to shell out 800-900 dollars.
I would love a meter and can do VHF/UHF with all the goodies for FTA.
 

mr3p

SatelliteGuys Pro
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Jan 1, 2010
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Dr. HD,
Thank you for reaching out to the FTA community here at Satelliteguys. With regards to driving USALS/DiSEqC motor, I can't believe it would add much size/weight if you consider the size of the entire circuit board of a v7 receiver. Unless the H-H motor has manual buttons to change positioning east/west, when setting up and aligning a dish its a major PITA to connect a separate receiver and display when this could be handled by the meter.
 

skysurfer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 1, 2006
1,737
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I'm guessing the DDSI doesn't work (or work well) because not many uplinkers setup the lower-level detail stuff in their encoders.

as for meters, I think I would like one with CID decoding. Otherwise I"m in good shape as I have a sathero that doesn't care the modulation or format type of the signal to lock on. All it needs is a frequency, polarity and symbol rate and it will lock onto any signal if those three parameters are correct.
 
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mr3p

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Since we are on the topic of meters.... Anyone have any thoughts or experience with SATLINK WS-6916? From description it looks good for FTA but who knows.
 

Shicks4

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 29, 2015
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Since we are on the topic of meters.... Anyone have any thoughts or experience with SATLINK WS-6916? From description it looks good for FTA but who knows.
I have a satlink ws-6933. it works........... thats about all i can say about it. Ill probably save up for something a little better. One complaint i do have is the battery never lasted very long from the time i got it. Also there is no way that i have found to run the receiver inline to power the lnb which i believe would help with the battery dying so quickly. That one looks like it would be a bit easier to input tp and symbol rates with the keypad.
 

johnnynobody

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I was looking at the Satlink WS-6916. It looks like it'll get the job done but now you guys got me wanting for more. Now I'm considering a more expensive meter like the First Strike FS1. I've been looking for a DVB-S2 meter to replace my Birdog USB Plus. But, I should look for a meter that does 16/32 APSK also - so would a meter that can identify what satellite I'm looking at would be great. BER, Lock indicator, spectrum analyzer as well as other "bells & whistles" - I guess I should budget for a $1000 meter. The big question is: What is the cheapest, reliable meter that'll align the dish easily?
 
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